Preacher: Steve MacDonald
I’m not supposed to be around to those are gone.
So all I had the chance to listen online is that someone from last week and I need to clear something up right at the very beginning because I found out that apparently in order to be uphere and preach you have to join across that gym and if that’s true we’ll just call it good right now and I’ll head home.
Because that is not going to happen we couldn’t be here we were supposed to get back late Saturday night there was a problem with our flight and so they had to bump us which wasgood because we have family in Grand Rapids so we could stay another night family but bummer was that we then flew from Grand Rapids Michigan to Baltimore and then fromBaltimore back to Phoenix with a two year old in a four year old a five hour flight but that’s OK because God was with us we didn’t have a dirty diaper on a five hour flight which is amiracle I mean that he still does miracles today because we’re here we were safe.
I want I want you to do a mental exercise with me.
I’m going to have an insurance agent come into your home and he is going to he’s going to give you a price quote on home insurance if you have an apartment on your renters insuranceso that we can we can get you a competitive quote on on your insurance on your house. Let’s let’s say we’re calling Raj because. You know he’s going to go to Steve but who would buyinsurance from a man named Steve so we’ll have Raj come into your house and and give you a quote on home homeowners insurance and he wants to know what is the most valuablething in your house because that’s going to need an extra special writer because that’s worth more than anything else so you have to pick the one thing in your house that’s worth themost amount of money and you figure what you would need to put that special insurance writer on the thing that has the most value in your house.
So when you maybe your car right because cars are pretty expensive we we have a thought. And nine Cyrano and it’s not worth the gas that’s inside of it so that it’s ruled out for us if it’snot your cars maybe it is your your wife’s wedding ring right we all got suckered into three months of salary and and now we’re all poorer for it. Whatever it is the what is the mostvaluable thing that’s in your house that needs this insurance writer now I’m going to break the rules a little bit because I’m I asked you to find a thing and I think what I want to do is saythat maybe one of the most valuable things you have is your time but your time is a fixed a finite resource you can’t add more time to your life if if you sat down and you said we arespending way more money than we are bringing in in our house that’s fixable you can go get another job you can go bring more money into the mix when it comes to time you look at itand you say there are only seven days in the week twenty four hours in a day I cannot add more time to my day I have a fixed amount of time so I think one of our our most valuableresources is our time.
Because it’s fixed then we have to be careful how we spend that time because if we spend it in places that don’t do it any good it’s wasted and we can’t get it back and that’s time that’staken away from something else that could be beneficial to us for families who are church and so what I want to do the smart thing is identify the distractions that sometimes pull us awayand waste our time if if our time is a valuable resource What is it that can can take that valuable resource and put it to waste so if you’ll turn with me in your Bibles.
To Luke Chapter ten.
We’re going to look at a parable that probably familiar to most.
Ten thirty eight forty two.
This is the parable are the parable this is a story I’m sorry about Mary and my. And. This is the first type of distraction this is the daily distractions these are the distractions that just popup throughout your day. That they get you sidetracked the things that fill up all of the time in a typical day they keep you busy so when talk first about daily distractions these are usually.Maybe even almost always self-inflicted these are things we do to ourselves take on too much responsibility we let the kids be involved in seventeen different sports that have to be takenall over the place start working forty hour weeks become forty three hour weeks become fifty hour weeks. We sign up to do too many things these are all self-inflicted bs these dailydistractions. So let’s find out from the Mary and Martha story daily distractions Luke ten verse thirty eight.
Now as they went on their way Jesus entered a village and a woman named Martha welcome to him into her house she had a sister called Mary who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened tohis teaching but Martha was distracted with much serving she went up to him and said Lord do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone then tell her to help me then. But theLord answered her Martha Martha you are anxious and troubled about many things but one thing is necessary Mary has chosen the good portion which will not be taken away from her.
We have been in verse thirty nine. Something of a rare occurrence because Mary sits down at the feet of Jesus and essentially gets disciple gets taught by Jesus in a patriarchal culturethat’s pretty rare to have an opportunity for a woman to sit at the feet of. A great teacher and to learn and so this opportunity in this house is it’s huge it’s a rare opportunity.
But Martha who is so busy misses it and you can kind of relate to Martha right I mean if you knock knock guess who’s coming over for Sunday dinner it’s Jesus you’re not going to just. Upsomewhat a burger on the way home and throw it on a paper plate in front of them right you’re going to put on the best china the fancy glasses you’re going to make sure the food isperfect you’re not going to mess around you’re going to have everything perfect this is Jesus that’s coming to eat so you can you can kind of see where Martha is coming from but Verseforty tells us Martha was distracted with much serving that Greek word I’m going to I’m going to try and six rectally Pato per That’s a there’s a Greek word there for distracted but meansdrawing away or in Strong’s Concordance it says over occupied too busy Martha was over occupied she was too busy with what she had to do in order to put this meal on for Jesus shemisses this opportunity to sit down with Jesus and to learn from and then to asking questions because she was so occupied so over busy with the daily distractions of what had to bedone.
That happens to us quite often I think we get so involved in what has to be done in the day that we miss opportunities with a Sunday school class nine months a year ago about parentingand and one of my favorite parts is that we pulled in some of the the parents of adult children to say now that you’ve been through the parenting kids in your house phase what are somedo’s and don’ts that we can learn from you what what are some of the things you would you would tell us duplicate this what are some of the things you would say I did this don’t do thisit was a mistake one common theme in the don’t do this was Don’t get so wrapped up in parenting that you miss your kids don’t get so caught up in raising your kids that you don’t enjoyyour kids because it can be one of those things up I don’t want to raise a derelict So I’ve got to be on them with discipline and making sure that they’re polite to people and I’ve got toknow where they are at all times they’ve got to pick up the rooms and they’re not doing this they’re not doing that and you get so caught up in the act of parenting that you looked. Pastthe kids that are in front of you. We can do that. Even in daily life I don’t know if any of you have had this I’ve had opportunities where five minutes later half hour later.
I missed an opportunity to witness that person was asking to hear about Jesus and I was so busy thinking about I was running behind I was I was late I had to get to this that was a windowI had with that person to present the gospel.
It can happen inside a church sometimes we get so busy volunteer and so busy serving inside of the church that you feed a lot of people and you get home on a Sunday or you get homeon a Tuesday night or Wednesday night and you’re not bad because you’ve spent so much time feeding people now I’m not suggesting that Pastor Josh be greeted with everybodyturning in their volunteer card next week when he gets back it’s just one of those things we have to be aware of what fills our day what kind of daily distractions are keeping us areabsorbing all of our time. Verse forty two one thing I want to point out to you there. But one thing is necessary and I have a little number three you probably have a footnote after thatphrase there are some manuscripts that have a different translation there down at the bottom of my Bible but number three says some manuscripts a few things are necessary or only onething is necessary so here I’m using the E.S.P. They say only one thing is necessary and that could mean look only the spiritual is necessary all of this other stuff is extra and if thenecessary thing should dominate our attention that is what should keep us busy if you take.
Only a few things are necessary it’s possible that Jesus is is. Functionally telling Martha look we just need to eat we don’t need a grand buffet we just need a couple of things because allof those other things are distracting you and Mary has chosen the good portion which will not be taken away from her so they leave distractions. And.
Can pull us away can absorb that time that is that that precious resource.
What they do is make us miss opportunities they make us.
Be so wrapped up in our schedule of what’s coming next and and what’s going to happen that we miss the opportunities that are in front of us mere Martha missed the opportunity to sitdown at the feet of Jesus and we’re so caught up in our daily routines we miss out on opportunities.
Zach said he picked a topic last week that was his spiritual gift I think I did too because being distracted is probably pretty close to my spiritual gift and so I can relate with Martha I Itotally get Martha.
You plan a family vacation it’s not you a family vacation you plan a family vacation right these you people that can say oh we’re going to go up for a drive up the Pacific Coast Highwaywhere you stay in the first night we don’t know that no you don’t do that that doesn’t make sense you know where you’re going to stop How many bathroom stops to the kids get youknow where you’re going to eat approximately what it’s going to cost and what you’ll tip where you’re going to spend that night and then the next day’s events and then you have acontingency because if it rains you’ve got to have a backup plan to stay you don’t just go on vacation you plan a vacation but if you do that you get to the end of it and what do you needwhen you get back from vacation a vacation and so I relate with Martha Very well I understand I understand the over planning in the getting too busy and missing opportunities but theother thing that daily distractions can do is that. In making us miss opportunities and filling up our time they absorb that time with stuff that in the end doesn’t matter and it takes awayfrom and if I just had fifteen thirty more minutes I I could get into the Bible like I want to on a daily basis I pray but I pray at meal times I need to spend some time with just me and Godwill that time is in the day it’s just being absorbed by these daily distractions. So if that’s that’s one of the kinds of distractions.
Another kind is what I’m going to call crisis distractions. Daily distractions our free much self-inflicted we do it to ourselves we get ourselves too busy week we start to care about stuffthat when we step back and look and say it’s not that big a deal I don’t need to spend the time crisis distractions can be self-inflicted we can put ourselves in spots where we did it toourselves I’m here I have a big mess on my hands but I did it to myself but Crisis distractions can also be something that are external that through no fault of our own we are just in theSituation. Let’s look at Matthew Chapter fourteen.
We’re going to look at twenty to thirty one this is.
A little bit of back history of all your turn in Matthew fourteen.
Jesus finds out in the disciples find out that John the Baptist has been beheaded.
I don’t think I’m stepping out on a limb by saying if there was anybody that could relate to Jesus in the situation he was in it was probably John the Baptist the two of them couldprobably talk some ministry talk that Jesus just couldn’t do with the disciples and so when he finds out that John the Baptist has been beheaded he wants to go away he wants to getaway from everything and just spend some time by himself.
Get through this process he’s Jesus so he tries to get away crowds find out hey Jesus is up here first some time away let’s go I’ve got a friend that needs to be healed and pretty soonthere’s a mass of people there and he starts doing healings then we get later in the day and the disciples say we got to boogie there these people got to eat we don’t want to feed themlet’s get out of here and Jesus says nope let’s feed him so you have the feeding of the five thousand that gets done and and Jesus says OK disciples get on the boat head out to the lateI will catch up with you I’m going to dismiss these crowds and that’s where we pick up and for. Twenty two.
Immediately he Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go before him to the other side while he dismissed the crowds and after he had dismissed the crowds he went up on themountain went by himself to pray when evening came he was there alone.
We’ll stop there because going back to daily distractions just gives us a perfect example of what we should do when we find ourselves in the midst of a day that’s just gone haywire takesome time get away from everything else and center refocus on God so that when we get up the next day we’re not getting up still in that tumbling mess of a day that was the bay beforewe’ve centered we’ve gotten back to OK God this was a mess of a day I want to come back to you so that when I start the next day I’m not stop hurting just picking up where I left off inthe chaos of the day before.
So now we’re going to jump to the perspective of the of the disciples when we talk about these prices distractions they’re on a boat and we’re not talking they’re fifty feet offshore whereyou know he could this is just a leisurely stroll for Jesus across the water they are way on the other side in fact it tells us. Let’s jump back to verse twenty four.
But the boat by this time was a long way from the land beaten by the waves for the wind was against them and it was the fourth watch of the night and he came to them walking on thesea Romans like to break up the night into four watches from six P.M. to six A.M. You have four watches so the fourth watch would be three AM to six A.M. This is the dead of the nightyou know there’s nothing going on these guys are out in the middle of this water way far from shore wind kicks up and you’ve got a boat with a sail on it’s are going to drop the sail wavesare thrashing them they’re in a panic this is their crisis moment they are in a panic they don’t know what’s going to happen the one guy that could help them is back on the shore they’repretty sure he said he was going to be here he’s not. Here they find themselves in this crisis moment and if if being in a boat in the middle of the night in the middle the lake wasn’tenough.
Verse twenty six. When the disciples saw him Jesus walking on the sea they were terrified and said it’s a ghost and they cried out in fear so now they’ve got this who knows what it iswalking at them across the water no one’s ever seen this happen before here comes this what they think is a ghost in the middle of a storm coming at them they are in full panic modenothing makes sense probably if this were a calm water middle of the day we wouldn’t call Jesus a ghost but everything is so turned upside down in their lives right now they don’t knowwhat’s happening so they are in full panic.
Verse twenty seven immediately Jesus spoke to them saying Take heart it is I do not be afraid. And Peter answered him.
Lord if it is you command me to come to you on the water.
Peter is a good example of us as Christians right chaos happens something turns your life upside down.
Could be anything could be the loss of a family member a sickness a relationship that’s gone bad a job that you lose any of those things turns your life upside down and it feels like notonly do I have this problem but every time I turn around another problem keeps hitting me and I’ve got something else to deal with and I’m just about to come out of this and then I getknocked back down again but the disciples have that they say we’re out here away from Jesus middle of night in this boat the waves are crashing now we think there’s a ghost coming tous what is going on and so Peter says Lord. If it is you command me how often do we do that how often do we in the middle that crisis give God a contingency statement and say God ifyou’re there. Help me God If you do this if you fix this mess I promise I will. God if it is your will instead of. Saying God please please help me we throw out a contingency statement I likethat Peter cut it kind of gives us the model we say we’re still using today Lord if it is your command come to me to tell a command me to come to you on the water. Jesus said Come SoPeter got out of the boat and walked on water and came to Jesus and boy it would be nice for us if that’s where this story just ended right he gets to Jesus they shake hands everybody ishappy because all we have to do is when Jesus says Come to me come to him and crisis is go away all the problems are solved but those distractions popped right back in.
Thirty but when he Peter saw the wind he was afraid he began sinking and he cried out Lord save me.
Find yourself in a crisis situation and it feels like the world is turned upside down and you know in your head because you’ve been in the Bible and you’ve been saved and you’ve beencoming to church you know in your head God has a plan he won’t put you through something that you cannot handle this is all going to be OK in the big picture but you still you knowthat in your head but getting your heart in your stomach to feel that is the trick that’s where Peter is that if a disciple is there you know he’s he knows he just saw Jesus walk across thewater he knows in his head this is all going to work out but that crisis distraction pulls him away from Jesus pulls his focus off of the solution and puts him back into the crisis that he’s inand he starts sinking and he starts flailing and he doesn’t know what’s going on he feels like he’s losing it again and it cries out and says Lord save me just no more ifs just Lord pleasesave me.
The upside for us is that even in crisis the Lord answers our prayers because in verse thirty one Jesus immediately reached out his hand took hold of him saying to him oh you of little faithwhy did you doubt and when they got into the boat the wind ceased and those in the boat worshiped him saying. Truly you are the Son of God So even when we are weak in our faith onemore in a situation where.
We know what in our heads but we can’t get our hearts in our stomachs to feel that God still answers our prayer. But. What do crisis distractions do the daily distractions just put noise inour ears and fill up our days and keep us from doing the stuff we’re supposed to the prices distractions sound an alarm like it nothing you can’t hear or see anything else that’s going onaround you all you can do is focus on the prices that you’re in the middle of and that’s what they do is crisis distractions will try to say yeah there’s this answer there’s there is God but I’mgood I’m going to so just throw your world upside down but you can’t even focus on God Peter Peter steps out of the boat and starts walking to Jesus then he notices the wind in thecrisis going on around him and he totally forgets about Jesus and starts to sing so the crisis distractions they will try and make us forget. So busy our minds that we can’t focus on what isthe true answer to the crisis and I want to be careful that I don’t say you’re the middle of a crisis situation all you have to do is look at Jesus and everything will be OK because that’s it’sstill going to hurt still going to be ugly.
And it may not solve itself as as well as this situation did being in a crisis situation.
Is ugly and it hurts and it’s bad.
But if we know and we believe in the extent that we are physically able we feel that God has a plan he will take care of us we are His children. That will give you some comfort and in thosemoments where you can’t where you can’t get your stomach in your heart to agree with what your mind says you do what Peter did and you say Lord save me I don’t have that that basethat I think is going to pull me through this give me an extra dose of that because you can’t so two kinds of distractions the last one I’m going to honestly. Just kind of touch on a little bitand that’s because it’s the devil’s distractions and I think.
We have probably pounded this drum before we like to blame everything on the devil right the devil made me do it if I’m really going through some stuff right now but it’s because Satanis really trying to get and I’m not saying that doesn’t happen but I’m saying that a Most of what happens in our lives is not Satan model focusing on Steve McDonald and I’m going to goget that guy that happens from time to time but most of the stuff I do most of my distractions are self-inflicted Sometimes I had a crisis that did the devil make that bad weather happenand doesn’t say that it did it just happened right to say the devil is not and everything bad that goes it happens in our world sometimes it is just sin in general that makes thing goesthings go bad sometimes things just go bad but sometimes the devil does seek us out.
First Peter five.
Six and nine but there.
We get a warning first Peter five six to nine yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he made exalt you casting all your anxieties on him because hecares for you the sober minded the watchful of your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour resist him firm in your faith knowing that the samekinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
Before I we went and got rid of cable we used to be able to watch those nature shows right and you see the lion is down in the grass and being shaken as he’s found the antelope orwhatever he’s going to go after is he going after the biggest strongest and loping the herd is going after the the lame one the one that’s got the limp the young one or the one thatstrayed off on on its own right. The lion knows my chance of success is much better with those than if I go after the big strong prepared one and so he warns be prepared because thedevil is out there and like a lion on the prowl he is looking for something to attack he’s looking for somebody to distract.
The answer to avoiding devil distractions and be prepared be strong in your faith.
Vision six ten to eleven Paul talks to us about putting on the armor of God.
And gives us another warning about the devil of fusions six ten to eleven.
Finally be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil again the devil is scheminghe’s hunting the scheming he would love to distract us you’ve got to ask yourself why he can’t and save us right he can’t come after us so hard that we say you know what you are right Iquit team God I am now Team devil. And and now I am under I declare myself unsaved and now I am on say that he knows he can’t do that why does he spend so much time trying todistract us it’s because when he does that it interferes with our relationship with God when He distracts us from God. Interferes with our relationship and that relationship can’t grow heputs you know Nature hates a vacuum so if we aren’t doing righteous things it’s not like there’s just nothing going on he will come in and distract us with unrighteous things the otherthing is he hurts our ability to be a tool for God God can’t use us to our fullest potential if we’re being distracted by the devil if the devil is pulled us away from everything we’re supposedto do we’re an effective tool and the other thing it does is really ruin our witness why would anybody join Team God if that’s how the people on the. God and so it’s not too. To make uschange and to lose our salvation those devil distractions are really designed to tear away at our relationship with God and to eliminate us as a witness.
So we’ve got three distractions.
What do we do we can identify him I can look at my day and I can say Man tomorrow is already more time in the day and I have I’ve got more things to do than time in the day and ourhouse we have invented in a day it’s called Florida larval day it’s sold at IKEA which is why it’s called floral gargle day and it is the eighth day because there are times we get to Saturdaynight or Sunday and it’s OK I need to institute Florida garble day tomorrow because I am starting next week behind I already have carry over from last week I need the eight day in orderto get caught up if you’re looking at tomorrow and tomorrow says you still caught more things than you have time to do today and work starts tomorrow.
It is it is almost like doing a financial budget is sitting down and saying I have this amount of time and this is how I am spending it which one of those things isn’t fruitful which one ofthose things that my spending time on.
That is it isn’t pleasing to God is in producing for God or for my family and and you know and my spending so much time at work that it’s hurting my family relationship and my spendingso much time shuttling my kids around eighty four different events but I don’t know them besides being the driver you know I looking at those things and and it’s going to hurt a little bitto contract and get that time back and put it to where it should be but that’s how we solve those self-inflicted daily distractions crisis distractions I wish I had a remedy to tell you this isthe one thing to do to solve your prices distractions if they’re self-inflicted.
Stop doing whatever it is you know that that is pretty easy if they’re not self-inflicted Bill I don’t want to make light of that because that is the. It is hard and date there is no amount oftime that I can tell you if you just wait and believe until this time it’s all going to be OK but be strong in your faith trust. Like those verses told us the first Peter in the build up yourstrength so that when those come the devil knows he doesn’t have his stand the chance of attacking you and then with the devil distractions the same thing there as your faith as strongas possible be here a church be in your your bible take some of that time to get back by eliminating the daily distractions to put it into your bible to put it into prayer so that when we getto crisis and devil distractions you’re prepared for let’s pray.
For Heavenly Father we thank you for your love for us that we are indeed your children and as we talked about today we can’t lose our salvation. We pray that you would help us to giveyou back the the time that you deserve to help us create the time in the day for you for our far church family are our families at home and just help us to identify places where we caneliminate some distractions and we ask for your comfort in those prices destruction is in your name Amen.